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Community celebrates Wolverine Gym
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It's been 41 years since the last basketball game at R.L. Cousins High School. Thanks to the Newton County Recreation Commission, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation and community leaders from throughout Newton County, the gym is back open for play.


Recreation Commission director Tommy Hailey emceed the dedication ceremony Wednesday and several R.L. Cousins alumni were on hand for the ribbon cutting event on the freshly renovated Wolverine Gym. The gym is the second major rehabilitation of a sports facility on the grounds of the old R.L. Cousins High School.


"We appreciate all the commissioners and people who were involved in this project and we thank everybody for their support," Newton County Recreation Johnny Presley said.


R.L. Cousins shut its doors after 13 years of operation as a black high school. Newton County schools integrated in 1971 and everyone went to what is now Newton High.


Several alumni who have remained close to the county and become community leaders were in attendance including Forrest Sawyer, Flemmie Pitts, J.C. Henderson and Janet Goodman.


Also on hand were members of the 1965 R.L. Cousins championship team. The ceremony wrapped up with a group free throw by community leaders who were instrumental in the rehabilitation project.


"This is teamwork. This is what working together does," Sawyer said. "We do that well here in Newton County and Covington and we want to keep up with our history – with our past. In many other communities we see where an old black high school sits dormant. Not here in Newton County and Covington. We have a community that cares not only about its people, but its history."


The project included new fixtures and toilets in the bathrooms, backboards and rims, and a new floor adorned with Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation and Recreation Commission logos and the original Wolverine logo. In addition to the rehabilitated floor and bathrooms, two offices were added and the old shower/locker room was gutted and replaced with a large storage area which the recreation department will use to store football gear.


The gym will be used for men's church league play through the Recreation Commission and depending on staffing, is slated to be open to the public for open gym play much the way Turner Lake complex is.